A Letter on my Doorstep

blog collage 

A Letter from God on my Doorstep

I opened the door, and there on my doorstep was a personal, handwritten note from the Lord just for me!   I quickly opened the note and read the message inside.  As I read, it took my breathe away to see how personally and consistantly the Lord leans into our lives!  

The letter was actually from a friend living in Central Asia,  she was writing to thank me for an encouragement and prayer I had written her a few weeks ago. She and a fellow worker, had recently witnessed some extremely tragic events, and our community rallied together to pray for them.  In response to the news I prayerfully scribbled a quick note on a piece of construction paper  “Balm of Gilead” because i had just published a blog post about Jesus being the Balm of Gilead.

In the thank you note I found on my doorstep, my friend expressed how much she appreciated taking the time to write and pray for them in her time of grief. She saidshe was actaully moved her to tears.  

In her note she said that about a year ago, she and her co-worker had been in Scotland raising awareness about this Central Asian nation, and in that prayer meeting The Balm of Gilead was a prominent theme, and word of the Lord.

The Balm of Gliead

I really struggled with that post about Jesus being the Balm of Gilead, because it felt like a name of the Lord that I hadn’t fully encountered, and that I haven’t intimately known.

 Another part of my struggle was that I felt that it was a revelation relevant for another era, and not my own.

When I heard the news of what was happening that day, and how it had impacted my friends, I took the opportunity to reach out because I KNEW it was a word for them.

I share this story to introduce today’s name of the Lord, and to follow up on my last post #8 Name of The Lord  The Beginning.

#9 The Name of the Lord for TodayThe Beginning and the End.  

I have been chewing on this for a few days, and I haven’t been sure how to share this revelation today’s name of the lord. When i read the Letter on my front door I knew exactly what to say.  

I ended post #8 asking the question:

If you are anything like me, the exictmenthope and exlariation of new beginnings invebality hit the resisiatnce of self-doubt and fear.  I want to invite you to check out my next post, and discover how encountering Jesus as the Beginning and the End will give you as you press through that opposition and stay the course with confidence.

Today I draw strength from knowing Jesus as the Beginning and the End (Revelation 21:6) because my daily experience is that He is also the God of the middle.  

He is not just there at the Starting line cheering me on or waiting for me at the finish line.  He is with me in the race.  

As we look at the Psalms we the beautiful inheritance we have of this reality of meeting Jesus in the NOW.  As we see expressed in Ps 90:1-2

Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.  Before the mountains were born Or You gave birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

In my walk with the Lord, He has consistently spoken to me in personal and subtly ways through notes like I recently received on my doorstep.  

Granted this kind of experience could easily be perceived as subjective, but for me it is the goodness of God that is my dwelling place in all generations.  

Today I have confidence because I know He is in my beginnings and will be my God in the End, because He is with me now! He will always be my Dwelling Plave in every generation! 

#7 The Name of the Lord for Today: The Balm of Gilead

gilead heart

The Spirit of peace and compassion will bind up all our wounds.

Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?Why then has not the health of the daughter of my people been restored?
                                     Jeremiah 8:22

Welcome to the lament of Jeremiah the ‘Weeping Prophet’

Jeremiah was a man confronted with the challenge of looking at his nation in light of what God had called them to be.  He was broken by the drift that had taken place. This was a people whose story was so unique! 

This nation Israel was a people scooped up out of the hands of oppressive slavery in Egypt and brought a land of promise to walk intimately with the living God.

As Jeremiah walked with God, and as he observed His ways, he was shattered by how far Israel had fallen. They had settled for lesser pleasures and lesser god’s.  

It is in the tears and agony of Jeremiah that this question comes exploding out of the text!  

IS THERE NO BALM IN GILEAD?

Gilead was a region famous for a healing balm that flourished there.  It was said that this healing salve from Gilead was so sought after it was worth twice it’s weight in silver.    

What was created to be sought after had become despised.  The healing that had once been given through this nation was now barren and void.  Surveying the brokenness of his people Jeremiah was devastated.  

Today’s name of the Lord: “A Balm in Gilead” met the longing of Jeremiah’s heart.  Jesus is the Balm of Gliead.  Like the balm that made Gilead infamous,Jesus was crushed for our healing.  

This fulfillment of this old testament prophet’s heart cry, gives me a deeper insight into the heart God. He is a merciful and compassionate God who is moved by the laments of His people.  He could have washed his hands cleans of this people on many occasions, but rather and He constantly chooses to engage our brokenness and pain.  

Jesus is a perfect example of that truth.  He came as ‘Emanuel’ and lived in our mess  so that he could lead us out of it!  The death of Jesus open our eyes to God’s relentless pursuit of us. Despite our rebelliousness He comes to lavish us with mercy and compassion.

#6 Name of the Lord for Today: The Wonderful Counselor will uphold you

writing to God
Writing to God: 40 Days of Praying with My Pen (Active Prayer Series)

During our move this weekend, I unearthed this awesome find!  Meg got this for my birthday a couple years back and it has been a great resource over the years. (Meg always knocks it out of the park with Birthday gifts)  As I was flipping through the pages, I found this entry that I would like to share with you today because of it’s relevance to the Name of the God for Today theme

Prayer of Names:

O God,

if I call you Father,

will you please watch over me and those in my house,

and guard us lie a watchmen at night?

O God,

if I call you Mother,

may I curl up next to you when I have nightmares,

and will you you soothe me when i am sick?

O God,

if I call you Lover,

will you keep me company through thick and thin,

and encourage me to my best self?

And God,

if I confess that you are beyond naming,

will you please be greater than me and beyond my understanding,

so that the things I cannot fathom but so desperately want-

lion-and -lamb peace,

feeding miracles by the millions,

tears-into-joy justice-

can be conceived and built by your imagination?

Will you please be holy so that I can be human,

to the best of my ability

The Wonderful Counselor will uphold you. 

Read Isaiah 9:6

What name of God- from this passage or from you journey of faith- resonates deeply with your spirit?

Take time today to read and reflect on this scripture as well as journal those thoughts in the form of a prayer to the Lord.

 

And the effect of righteousness will be peace,and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever

Isaiah 32:17  

#5 Name of the Lord for Today: He Cares

Hello!  Thanks for checking in on my reflections on the names of the Lord.  There are a several reasons that I am traveling this path.  One of the main reasons is because I really like the intentional focus on growing in my own devotional life, and another  is that I want learn to write.

For those here in the early days thank you for you patience! This quote is the steam in my engine at the moment.

“Write every day, line by line, page by page, hour by hour. Do this despite fear. For above all else, beyond imagination and skill, what the world asks of you is courage, courage to risk rejection, ridicule and failure. As you follow the quest for stories told with meaning and beauty, study thoughtfully but write boldly. Then, like the hero of the fable, your dance will dazzle the world.”
― Robert McKee

As I begin my dance today I am stepping out and sharing with you more about the one who sets the melody of the universe!

My last post ended on with the words..He Cares. Today I want to share a devotion from Henri Nouwin that speaks to this very aspect of God’s character. This is a paradigm that shapes my motivation as I engage in the lives of the people I work with.

CARE THE SOURCE OF ALL CURE

Henri Nouwin

 

Care, the Source of All Cure.  Care is something other than cure. Cure means “change.” A doctor, a lawyer, a minister, a social worker—they all want to use their professional skills to bring about changes in people’s lives. They get paid for whatever kind of cure they can bring about. But cure, desirable as it may be, can easily become violent, manipulative, and even destructive if it does not grow out of care. Care is being with, crying out with, suffering with, feeling with. Care is compassion. It is claiming the truth that the other person is my brother or sister, human, mortal, vulnerable, like I am. When care is our first concern, cure can be received as a gift. Often we are not able to cure, but we are always able to care. To care is to be human.

 

Nouwen, Henri J. M. (2009-03-17). Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith (p. 41). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

 

I have found this to be the most rewarding approach in ministry.  I have found it to be the most rewarding and honoring ways of investing in others but I have also found it to be one of the slowest messiest and challenging of all calls!  This is a path of pain and disappointments but I honestly feel that it is the path that led Jesus.  It is the path of the cross!  Nounin so masterfully connects the compassion of Jesus to the journey of those seeking to know Him better.

Today i wanted to point you to the heart of a God that Cares deeply for you. May you know the God that says…The Beatitudes

2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

Blessed because He Cares for you.